Spain Park (Ala.) at Pelham (Ala.)
Last season, Pelham rolled past Spain Park 42-17, but the loss fueled the Jaguars as they went on to finish the season with a one-score loss in the Class 6A quarterfinals. Spain Park’s momentum has continued into this season, and the undefeated Jaguars (8-0) are two wins away from grabbing the No. 1 seed out of Region 4. The Jaguars been able to edge teams in competitive games all season, and last Friday’s 34-13 win over Stanhope Elmore (Ala.) was their largest margin of victory all season.
Quarterback Mickey Forrest manages the offense and has passed for 1,422 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. Pelham (5-3) is fighting for its place in the postseason and has dropped two straight games heading into its final home game. Mississippi State-commit Braxton Hoyett is a 6-foot-3, 275-pound force on the line of scrimmage that the Panthers will need to disrupt Forrest and the Cougars’ offense.
Montgomery Bell Academy (Tenn.) at Pope John Paul II (Tenn.)
Montgomery Bell Academy will visit Pope John Paul II with a 7-1 record and one of the best offensive lines in the southeast. Alex Bars and Tashon Robertson are both top 10-rated Class of 2014 prospects in Tennessee. Bars is a 6-foot-6, 287-pound tackle and is committed to Notre Dame. Robertson is a 6-foot-3, 280-pound guard committed to Vanderbilt. The center of the offensive line is anchored by 2-star William Johnson and at right tackle is D.J. Mott, a 6-foot-5, 265-pound 2-star with offers from Missouri, Harvard and Tennessee-Martin.
This type of size, power and senior leadership gives the Big Red the advantage in the trenches. Last season, Montgomery Bell Academy topped Pope John Paul II 31-17 but it was not easy. The Knights took a 17-3 lead into halftime, and the Big Red used a 28-0 scoring advantage in the second half to grab the win.
Oak Grove (Miss.) at Brandon (Miss.)
Undefeated Oak Grove fell 27-20 to Brandon last season and will have to visit the 7-1 Bulldogs to win the battle for a top playoff seed out Region 3-6A this year. Oak Grove quarterback Kirk McCarty completed 13 of 26 passes for 204 yards and four touchdowns in the Warriors’ 43-7 win over Terry (Miss.) last Friday. On the season, McCarty has completed 156 of 256 passes for 2,341 yards and 25 touchdowns with just six interceptions. Oak Grove wideout Cameron Myers caught three of the touchdown throws and Mikel Anderson and Mikal Bilal added rushing touchdowns in the win.
Defensively, 6-foot-3, 255-pound junior Fletcher Adams is the guy to watch on Brandon. The 4-star is the No. 4 player in the state for his class and holds an offer from Mississsippi State. Junior quarterback Garnder Minshew leads the offense, and has passed for 1,648 yards, 14 touchdowns and has only thrown two interceptions.
University (Fla.) at Manatee (Fla.)
In this battle of unbeatens, two of the top 10 teams in the southeast will square off. No. 8 Manatee comes off its 51-13 victory over St. Petersburg (Fla.) last Friday. Trevon Walters rushed for 290 yards and three touchdowns and Marquel Hines returned a punt 70-yards for a touchdown in the victory.
No. 9 University comes off a 48-7 blowout over Glades Central (Fla.) last Friday. The Suns fumbled three times in the first half, but it did not matter as the offense finished the game with 277 yards passing and 232 yards on the ground. Jordan Scarlett took 24 carries 216 yards and found the endzone twice in the victory and quarterback Sean White continued his brilliant season. Univeristy runs its offense through White and prefers to air it out. Manatee likes to keep the football on the ground and feeds a hungry backfield that averages 336 rushing yards per game.
Northwestern (S.C.) at York (S.C.)
Undefeated Northwestern has one of the most dangerous passing games in the southeast and Oklahoma State-commit Mason Rudolph has passed for 28 touchdowns and just two interceptions during the Trojans’ 8-0 start. In last week’s 42-20 victory over Fort Mill (S.C.) Rudolph found Dupree Hart for three touchdowns.
Last season featured a back-and-forth game between the two teams. Northwestern took a 10-0 lead into the half, but York outscored the Trojans 14-0 to take a one-point lead into the final quarter. Northwestern added a pair of late touchdowns in the fourth quarter to take a narrow 23-21 victory. Undefeated York (8-0) comes off a 66-24 victory over Nation Ford (S.C.) Dashaw Andrews completed 19 of 27 passes for 292 yards and six touchdowns in the win. The York defense struggled however, and Nation Fork quarterback Dalton Helms passed for 410 yards and wideout Dalton Helms recorded a 220-yard receiving performance. York will have to make changes or this could be a picnic for the prolific Trojan offense and this game could be another classic South Carolina shootout that goes in Northwestern’s favor.